Flying Doctors Experience?

Mar 7th, 2006, 03:54 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 31
Flying Doctors Experience?

Does anyone have actual experience with 'Flying Doctors'? I'm looking for real-world experiences.

My question is will these people show up if needed. Did they work for you?

boomerm3 is offline  
Mar 7th, 2006, 05:18 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 592

I have taken out Flying Doctors Insurance on all nine of my trips. Luckily I have never had to use them.

However, when you stop and think about it, if you had a heart attack, stroke, were gored by a buffalo or bitten by a snake out in the bush what other options would you have? You need immediate evacuation and treatment started immediately. Flying Doctors is your only option. On my first trip in 2001 they even wanted to know my blood type. They know where to get "safe" blood if needed. They will, if medically necessary, fly you to Europe and assist you in getting home. The small, clinic-type, hospitals near many of the parks are in no way equipped to handle serious emergencies. Someone asked on my behalf of a local "clinic" if they had antivenin on hand in case of snake bite, and they don't. The only option in a case such as this would be Flying Doctors or Bio-Ken in Watamu who make antivenin.

Some of their doctors are volunteer physicians from the US and Europe and some are Kenyans.

Thus for most of us the Flying Doctors is a "must". For $25.00 you are assured of their help if you need it (the exception would be if something happened after dark they probably would not be able to land on an airstrip in the middle of no-where without lighting). With the $25.00 they raise from us tourists who don't end up needing their services, that is that much more money that allows them to help the poor Kenyans who have no money get emergency care also.

You can find out more about the great group by looking up: I would not hesitate to use them.

JanGoss is offline  
Mar 8th, 2006, 08:17 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,354
We had to use AAR in Feb 2005 from Kilimanjaro. It is a simple process:

1. It costs only $1 per person per day
2. You call or radio their emergency number
3. A paramedic answer the call and assist with diagnosis
4. If needed, a team of medics are dispatched by air or road
5. Evacuation is to either the nearest best facility or Nairobi depending on the emergency.

In our case AAR worked great and I highly recommend their services.
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 04:13 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 794
I was going to purchase Flying Doctor's memberships for myself and my parents for our upcoming safari. However, I'm unsure as to which membership to buy. They have a 500Km membership and a 1000Km membership. If I'm doing the basic Northern Circuit (Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire, Arusha), which one do I need?

Also, if I already have Travel Insurance with evacuation benefits, do I need Flying Doctor's as well? Roy Safaris recommended an organization called AAR (?), as well. Anybody know about them?
lifelist is offline  
Apr 5th, 2006, 06:10 AM
Posts: n/a
The evacuation insurance included in your trip insurance is to get you to the nearest reputable facility, in case of need.

Such as if in the UK somewhere, a major facility near where the incident occurs; can be London or elsewhere. In France it can be to a hospital in Paris or Nice or Lyon... any major city.

However, when out on safari and there is an incident, you have to get from the open plains to NBO or DAR. From here your trip evacuation will take over and determine whether they have to evacuate you to Europe, Israel, South Africa or the States with first class medical facilities.

Few of the evacuation coverages in standard comprehensive trip insurance policies will get you to your home hospital. For that, you should consider MedJet who will do so - coverage anywhere 50-miles from your home; they have full-service/equipped surgical planes in their fleet. You can contact them directly, or find information on the site. A full-year family membership is about $300; about $200 for a single. Or, if for a single trip, about $50-$60... a bargain for what they offer.

I always take out the Flying Doctor's insurance, and thankfully have never needed it. As to cost - if doing the Northern Circuit only, it should be at the lowest rate which I believe is $15/person.

As they say "don't leave home without it." And, as Jan mentioned above, be sure you know your own blood type and that of your travel partners/companions "just in case."

In the scheme of the total being paid for your safari, $15 (or $25) is a small amount to pay for peace of mind.

Happy travels.
Apr 5th, 2006, 08:51 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 20,132
I spoke to a few insurance people prior to my African trip and asked if anyone on their records had ever used more than 100,000. worth of evac./med. coverage and was told no. I went with the 100,000. cap.
Your own medical coverage should kick in at a certain point as well. Also, if you haven't, check with your tour co. as some off them include this as part of their package.
cybor is offline  
Apr 5th, 2006, 09:26 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 596
I don't remember the exact details but last week there was a university student from Seattle who broke a bone in his neck surfing and evacuation home from Mexico was $80,000. Probably the insurance company never had anyone use over $100,000 because they only evacuate to the nearest suitable facility. I have carried Medjet for several years now for peace of mind. Check your policy closely.
Louise is offline  
Apr 5th, 2006, 10:15 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 20,132
One more thing I forgot to mention, is that if you belong to flying docs, you will be provided attendance from specific area member docs. In order to belong they must meet certain and most up to date criteria to belong. You will not be seen by the local witch doctor or someone's cousin who is a good seamstress .
cybor is offline  
Apr 5th, 2006, 12:26 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 794
Heh. I'll be traveling with my aunt, who happens to be a doctor, so I'm not too worried about immediate care. My dad is a veterinarian, but I don't know how useful that is since I've already had my distemper shots.

I do remember an incident when I was a child where my brother and I were jumping on the bed. My brother slipped and cracked his head against the headboard. My aunt was around, so they took my brother into the dining room, where my mother held him down while my aunt sewed him up.

Hopefully, I won't have to endure the same experience on the hood of a landrover in the middle of the Serengeti.

It looks like with Flying Doctors and my Travel Insurance, I'm pretty much covered from the nearest airstrip to the nearest hospital. I assume transport from point of injury to airstrip would be accomplished with my operator.
lifelist is offline  
Apr 5th, 2006, 12:30 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
so is it 500km or 1000km for northern circuit? I was just trying to figure that out a few days ago.
Leely is offline  
Apr 5th, 2006, 12:41 PM
Posts: n/a
Leely -

For the Northern Circuit it's the 500km or $15/person. If doing both Northern and Southern/Western it's the 1000km at $25/person (though maybe an additional $25 for the Western).

In Kenya, even from north (Turkana) south to the border with Tanzania it's $15/person.

Combined Kenya and Northern Tanzania is $25; add another $25 if including the Southern/Western.

It's pretty clear on the amref website, or they'll answer your query. Consider it a contribution to a worthy cause; a bonus if one needs the service.

If one should need the service, the call will be placed, and your camp or lodge will get you to the airstrip for transport by Flying Doctor's.
Apr 5th, 2006, 02:01 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
Thanks, Sandi. Details, details.
Leely is offline  
Apr 7th, 2006, 04:04 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 592

Just checked the Amref website and the rate is now as follows:

Within 500 km.
For 14 days - $15.00
Longer than 14 days up to 2 months is

Within 1000 km
For 14 days - $30.00
For longer than 14 days up to 2 months is $50.00.

I think theh 15.00 is a resident charge.
JanGoss is offline  

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